Some holiday weekend reading suggestions for TN political junkies

Democratic dysfunction
Otis Sanford bemoans the squabble over financial troubles at the Shelby County Democratic Party, which last week put some local party leaders at odds with Tennessee Democratic Chair Mary Mancini. (ICYMI, post HERE.) His starting proposition:

The dysfunctional political family otherwise known as the Shelby County Democratic Party has managed itself into complete irrelevance. After resembling a circular firing squad for the past few years, local party leaders have finally turned the once highly effective and highly diverse group into a laughingstock.

The Tennessee Republican Party, which has had its share of dysfunctional episodes lately (most recently HERE), was naturally eager to offer commentary, too, HERE.


Al Gore, 10 years after ‘Inconvenient Truth’
The Tennessean has an interview with former Vice President Al Gore Jr., a decade after he published a book on climate change.:

Well, we’re far from where we need to be, so there is certainly no room for celebration, but I feel a sense of joy that we’ve made a lot more progress than many thought was possible.
Houk on Holt

Houk on Holt
In his Johnson City Press column, Robert Houk critiques Rep. Andy Holt’s burning of a traffic camera ticket. His bottom line:

Instead of celebrating lawbreaking, perhaps Holt and his colleagues could better fulfill the oath of their offices by passing a law to actually punish drivers who are routinely captured on a traffic camera running a red light or speeding. Make the violation a misdemeanor and place points on their driving records. Then violators can explain to their car insurance companies why red-light cameras are unconstitutional.

Rick’s reminiscence
Commercial Appeal reporter Rick Locker’s last article is a reflection on 33 years of covering stuff, mostly involving state government, over the past 33 years. It’s HERE. (Locker is leaving to become interim communications director at the state Board of Regents.)

Frank Munger, retiring reporter
Jack McElroy has penned a much-deserved tribute to Frank Munger, who is retiring after devoting decades to keeping track of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy and related matters. Excerpt:

We will be filling Frank’s position, but we can’t replace him. No one has his depth of knowledge, and I mean no one. Within the dwindling field of reporters covering Department of Energy activities, Frank was the dean. He is a loss to American, as well as East Tennessee, journalism.

Shampoo licensing lawsuit
Tammy Pritchard, the Memphis police officer who has filed a lawsuit against the state’s requirement that she get a license to shampoo people’s hair, has written an op-ed piece on the response to the lawsuit by the state attorney general’s office. Excerpt:

Imagine my surprise when I received the first response to my lawsuit from the state recently, and in the response the government stated, “Much of what states do is to favor certain groups over others on economic grounds. We call this politics. … Favoritism of this sort is certainly rational in the constitutional sense.”

Folly of the Confederacy
Sam Stockard, inspired by talking with a Mississippi lawyer crusading against that state’s flag incorporating the Confederate battle flag, has a rambling essay on the legacy of the Civil War, devoting considerable attention to the Tennessee tangle over Nathan Bedford Forrest. His conclusion:

A century and a half later, our people must recognize the folly of the Confederacy and its failure to recognize the basis for its economy was one of the greatest evils ever conceived. Its shadow has hung over our land long enough to realize we need to quit pushing that rock up the hill.

It’s time to understand that “all men are created equal” and let it go at that.

Obituary for the TN Economic Council on Women
The Tennessee Economic Council on Women ceased to exist on Friday, thanks to the Senate Government Operations Committee’s refusal to give it a new lease on life that began in 1998 – the chairman basically contending it wasn’t serving any function worthy of taxpayer support. (Story on the move HERE.) The group’s executive director, Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, reflects on its passing in a rather mild-mannered op-ed article appearing in The Tennessean.

Throughout the years, the Economic Council has partnered with groups such as the Women’s Economic Council Foundation to hold annual economic summits for women, which have brought such noteworthy speakers as Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, ATHENA founder Martha Mertz, equal pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter and many more.

Now, all that changes. There is no questioning the significant amount of work done by the Economic Council to promote women, children and families. I believe some of this work will continue but in a different way.

I do fear the narrow focus and credibility afforded to this agency’s efforts by its status as a state agency will be a challenge to replace.